Silica:Alumina Ratio (SiO2:Al2O3)
The ratio of silicon dioxide to alumina oxide is often used as an indicator of glaze matteness. A glaze with high alumina thus has a low silica:alumina ratio. This ratio has some value because alumina stiffens the glaze melt (stiffer melts do not smooth out as well on cooling thus creating a fired surface that scatters light). There are obvious limitations to using this indicator since there are other mechanisms and influencers of glaze matteness (e.g. crystallization, firing temperature). Generally, the mechanism of matteness is never purely the alumina:silica ratio. The presence of boron can gloss even a high alumina mix. Of course firing temperature affects gloss (a glossy glaze will be matte if under fired). Firing range is another variable: at low temperatures high temperature fluxing oxides (e.g. CaO, MgO) turn into matting agents (via melt stiffening). In addition, the presence of zinc can cause crystallization and matteness in an otherwise glossy glaze that even has a very high ratio. CaO in large amounts is a matting agent in high and medium temperature glazes (via crystallization). Opacifers will affect matteness.
If your glaze can handle more silica and melt just as well then add it!
The cone 6 G1214M glaze on the left melts well. Can it benefit from a silica addition? Yes. The right adds 20% yet still melts as well, covers better, is more glossy, more resistant to leaching, harder and has a lower thermal expansion.
Out Bound Links
In Bound Links